Would you consider yourself quite an open person?

A student wrote to me, asking:

Would you consider yourself quite an open person? You seem quite okay with letting your students know about your private life on Instagram.

So here’s my reply:

Yes, I’m a very open and trusting person. I think it’s easier to live life this way. Significantly less drama from my observations of other people. Lol…

I’m very happy to share many aspects of my private life with people. And I think this is largely due to how I grew up. I’m the youngest child in my family, and my brothers are both 12 and 11 years older than me (yes, I’m probably an accident). So I spent most of my formative years alone at home with nothing but the Internet. In those days, we used to chat on this thing called IRC. Everyone’s anonymous. With no one else to talk to anyway, I spent many hours in my formative years sharing about my life and all that. I found that it makes for very interesting conversations with people.

I still choose to share about my private life in this era of social media because I don’t always get the chance to interact with people very much. And I am quite a socially awkward person (I know, hard to believe right? But I do feel socially awkward all the time: I just pretend that I’m not when I’m teaching). So I don’t always connect very well to people in a face-to-face setting. Thus, social media is my way for people to get to know me for who I really am: don’t judge me based on your first face-to-face encounter where I struggle with the social awkwardness. Rather, judge me – decide whether you like or dislike me – after you’ve encountered me online where I don’t struggle with awkwardness.

Author: Jonathan Y. H. Sim

Jonathan Sim is an Instructor with the Department of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore. He is passionate about teaching and he continues to research fun and innovative ways of engaging students to learn effectively. He has been teaching general education modules to a diverse range of undergraduate students and adult learners at the University.

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